clumsy

adjective
clum·​sy | \ ˈkləm-zē \
clumsier; clumsiest

Definition of clumsy

1a : lacking dexterity, nimbleness, or grace clumsy fingers
b : lacking tact or subtlety a clumsy joke
2 : awkward or inefficient in use or construction : unwieldy a clumsy contraption criticized her sentence for its clumsy construction

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Other Words from clumsy

clumsily \ ˈkləm-​zə-​lē \ adverb
clumsiness \ ˈkləm-​zē-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for clumsy

awkward, clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche mean not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct). awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact. periods of awkward silence clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill. a clumsy mechanic maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations. a maladroit politician inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy. a hopelessly inept defense attorney gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding. felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

Examples of clumsy in a Sentence

I'm sorry about spilling your wine—that was very clumsy of me. I have very clumsy hands and tend to drop things. She made a clumsy attempt at a joke.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Thankfully, this film is actually funny, and so is Renée Zellweger, the titular Bridget Jones, who is 32 and a bit clumsy, and believes herself to be both a tad overweight and running short of romantic options. Vogue, "The 55 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time," 1 Feb. 2019 The first issue veers towards a trope that has rarely been combined with tech: the often awkward and clumsy women who transform into impossibly beautiful and powerful heroines of the digital battleground. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Zoe Quinn’s Goddess Mode makes cyberpunk magic from the internet," 27 Dec. 2018 And next to the sparkle and tenderness of To All the Boys, poor Sierra is a cold and clumsy mess. Constance Grady, Vox, "Peter Kavinsky and Barb from Stranger Things can’t salvage Sierra Burgess Is a Loser," 7 Sep. 2018 Using a small pair of scissors—an extremely delicate process with the clumsy gloves of his spacesuit—Kononenko sought to sample the exterior of the leak site that was clearly visible in live, televised video. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Russian cosmonauts spend nearly eight hours cutting into their spacecraft," 12 Dec. 2018 The resulting theory, quantum mechanics, deals with particles and blips of energy in the realm of the ultra-small, divorced from our everyday experience, and all but invisible to our clumsy mammalian sensory apparatuses. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 Precariously holding thin glass between your fingers while not obstructing the screen is clumsy. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Is the iPhone XS Max Too Big?," 21 Sep. 2018 So far, the attempts to shut Telegram down have been clumsy, with the app remaining available on many devices in Russia, including some that began to use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to hide their geographic location from authorities. Adam Satariano, New York Times, "Telegram App Says Apple Is Blocking Updates Over Dispute With Russia," 31 May 2018 Pakistan’s clumsy attempt to force Urdu on Bengalis led to war and the 1971 creation of Bangladesh. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "For India, English Is a Cure, Not a Sickness," 20 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clumsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clumsy

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clumsy

probably from obsolete English clumse benumbed with cold

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Statistics for clumsy

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clumsy

The first known use of clumsy was circa 1598

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More Definitions for clumsy

clumsy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of clumsy

: moving or doing things in a very awkward way and tending to drop or break things
: badly or awkwardly made or done
: hard to use : awkward to handle

clumsy

adjective
clum·​sy | \ ˈkləm-zē \
clumsier; clumsiest

Kids Definition of clumsy

1 : lacking skill or grace in movement clumsy fingers
2 : awkwardly or carelessly made or done a clumsy apology a clumsy error
3 : awkward to handle a clumsy package

Other Words from clumsy

clumsily \ -​zə-​lē \ adverb
clumsiness \ -​zē-​nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on clumsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clumsy

Spanish Central: Translation of clumsy

Nglish: Translation of clumsy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clumsy for Arabic Speakers

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